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What is Testicular Cancer?

Cancer is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal (malignant) cells. These malignant cells can invade nearby tissue and spread to parts of the body. Testicular cancer is the growth of malignant cells in one or both testicles.

About Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is not a common form of cancer. Though it can occur at any age, it is most often diagnosed in men ages 15 to 45.

Most testicular cancers are highly treatable, even if diagnosed at an advanced stage. Treatments depend on the type of testicular cancer you have and where or how far the cancer has spread in your body.

Testicles are part of the male reproductive system. These two organs are held within the scrotum which hangs beneath the base of the penis.  Testicles are responsible for making hormones, such as testosterone, and producing sperm.  The testicles are made up of several types of cells, any one of which can develop into one or more types of cancer. An oncologist can tell what type of cancer you have by viewing these cells under a microscope.

Testicular cancers often begin in the cells that create sperm or germ cells. The two main types of testicular cancer originating in germ cells are seminomas and non-seminomas. Malignant tumors can also begin in stromal or hormone-producing tissues of the testicles. These are called gonadal stromal tumors. The two main types are Sertoli cell tumors and Leydig cell tumors.

Signs of Testicular Cancer

  • Swelling or a lump in either testicle
  • Dull ache in the lower belly or groin
  • A heavy feeling in the scrotum or a change in the way it feels
  • Discomfort, pain, or numbness in a testicle or the scrotum
  • Sudden swelling of the scrotum
  • Tender or enlarged breast tissue
  • Lower back pain
medical equipment - doctors office

Be sure to see your doctor if you experience any symptoms such as tenderness, pain, hardness, or swelling of your testicles. If your doctor suspects testicular cancer, they will perform a painless and simple ultrasound scan to look for cancerous cells.

If your ultrasound scan shows a lump that appears cancerous, or your blood test reveals cancer tumor markers, you will be referred to a specialist called a urologist.

If you experience any symptoms or are simply concerned about your risk for testicular cancer, talk to your family doctor. Testicular cancer is most often highly treatable. Your doctor will ask you questions about any signs or symptoms you have experienced to help diagnose testicular cancer.

If you are diagnosed with testicular cancer your healthcare team can help with both supportive care to relieve your symptoms and a treatment plan. The most common treatment options for testicular cancers include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Your treatment plan will depend on the type of tumor/s you have and the stage of your cancer.

What is testicular cancer? It is an uncommon, treatable, and usually curable form of cancer that most often develops in middle-aged men. If you have concerns about your risk of testicular cancer and would like to speak with one of our caring medical professionals, contact River Bend Medical Associates. As part of your medical team, we are here to provide you with the best care in all aspects of your healthcare needs. For more information on our medical practice, or to make an appointment contact River Bend Medical Associates, or call 916-392-4000.


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